Each season presents unique challenges. This year I have already seen that scheduling workouts and races will be my biggest challenge. Last year I had a very stable job, and I hadn’t yet worn out my wife, so I rode a lot and raced over 35 days.
I won’t go into detail, but last year’s job (for the company I had worked for for almost eight years) ceased to exist. I was left with a choice: work the ‘retirement shift’ in town, which would mean a basic dead end to my career, transfer to a nearby division and car commute 30 minutes each way, or work for the new company doing the same job I used to do in town.
I chose what was in my long term best interest. Since this is a cycling blog, I think this is pertinent. Cyclists tend to be ‘Type A’ people, and are looking for quick results, feedback, and success. I’m not guilt free in this department either; just look at the title of the blog. It can be hard to look past the next race on the schedule.
I knew this season’s big goal, the State Time Trial, would be impacted by my decision. I know I can win if I have optimal prepartation. I chose the long term view and started my new job last week. In my line of work, seniority is important and I won’t have much control over my schedule for a while.
I am still going to make the best of what time I have. Last week I was working 8-5 every day, but I used a variety of tactics to find two hours of exercise during the week (body weight strength, running, and rollers). I made up for it this weekend by riding seven and a half hours. Surprisingly, I met my 9.5 hour goal for the week.
In fact, I was quite well rested and felt ‘good legs’ for the first time this season on today’s ride. I rode for four hours, averaging 220W (240 NP), and had 75 minutes over a few long climbs in Zone 3. By good legs I mean that I didn’t have to dig too deep mentally to keep the power where I wanted it, and although I was tired at the end, I didn’t feel like I was limping home.
I attribute my good legs to a few factors: First is rest. The easy week left my with a TSB and ATL near zero (relatively low fatigue and relatively high form). Also I ate a lot of food leading up to my big rides. Sometimes I’m going easy on calorie intake for weight control and metabolic training (forcing my body to burn fat for fuel), but this weekend I needed to be sure I had the calories I needed to get quality hours on the bike. After just two days, my TSB is now -35, the ‘lowest form’, and ‘highest fatigue’ I’ve had in three weeks.
Next week will be an additional challenge. I’m currently scheduled for 56 hours of work over five days, all during daylight hours. I’ve got 11 hours on the training plan. I’m pretty sure I won’t make it, but I am going to do my best to train through the next few weeks.